If you have not already seen Carly's latest project please go and have a look! Send a babylost mother a flower while you are there!
We plan to make this a much more interactive page this year. Not all of us will write each month, we will be taking turns. We plan to have a featured guest write each month too which will be lovely. Please if you had the old Secret Garden Meeting button on your blog we wanted to let you know that we now have a new button for the Sunset Meeting. You can find it on the right hand side bar.
After writing on your blog for this months meeting make sure you visit a few of the other bloggers that link in here to share your love and support.
Our love and peace to all,
Carly, Sophie, Sally, Sky and Kristin.
For the first meeting of the month we thought we would speak about the holiday season and how you coped. What was it like for you? Did you do anything special in your childs memory? Tell us about it on your blog and then pop back over here and link your post in the Mr Linky below.
I went into last holiday season with grief hanging over my head, we had just lost Charlie, two days later I had friends and family trying to celebrate my birthday when I was in no mood at all and Christmas day passed by in the blink of an eye with no holiday cheer to be had.
This year I wanted it to be different. I wanted our son to have a good time, I wanted to smile and laugh and I wanted to honour Charlie.
We knew that first we would have to get through charlie's first birthday in heaven. We marked the ocassion with a trip to the beach and we let pink ballons go up into the sky, I thought it would be a day full of tears but it wasn't. It was a day of celebrating and honouring our precious little girl.
The one year mark since losing Charlie was very significant to me, as the day was ending and I was sitting on the beach watching my husband and son play a voice popped into my head and told me "don't me sad anymore it's time to start living". So that's exactly what Ii did.
We went out and brought a new Christmas tree just for Charlie and decorated it with pink and silver. Baubles, stars, tinsel and butterflies. We hung decorations around Charlie's special place in our home and we even put up the Christmas lights.
Christmas day came and was full of fun and laughter. We remembered Charlie and I cried a few silent tears. I couldn't help but wonder what it would have been like with Charlie here, celebrating her very first christmas.
This Christmas we have learnt to smile, to laugh, to appreciate and to live again.
I had hope that this year the holidays would be different. Different in the sense that maybe they would be better than last year.
It was different though not in the way I thought it would be. There was a distinct build-up, though not of the sadness that surrounded me last year... instead the build up was the anticipation of her birthday on Christmas day. Everything had to be just right. I needed her to be honoured and yet I needed my boys to have their Christmas too. There was much juggling.
The moment the tree went up for me it was all about Jordan. I lit her candles at night and we turned the lights on on the tree. It was beautiful. And then Christmas day came and we spent it with family during the day and good friends in the evening. The only point that tears came was as we released the balloons my mother in law had purchased just after lunch with all of Jordan's cousins. I clutched Jasper to me and was overwhelmed with her loss and his presence in my life. Such confliction. Loss and gift.
Strangely Christmas was a non event for us after Jordan's birthday. The lights on the tree stopped getting put on. The lights in the garden and on the house stopped being put on. It was as though for my husband and I, the holiday, the special day was done with the passing of her birthday. I felt bad for my eldest son but he didn't seem to really notice and if indeed he had, we'd have done something about it.
So I guess in a way we survived the birthday itself very well. We did what we felt we needed to do. Surrounded ourselves with trusted friends and family who joined us in honouring her but also in just honouring life and family and friendship in general. These were people we could have cried with had we felt the need, but instead we were able to laugh and enjoy each others company. I guess I consider that successful. We survived Christmas and indeed, two years on it was easier... (and you know what, easier isn't really the right word and neither is better, but I hope you understand what I mean.)
We love and miss Jordan so much. We love our precious Jasper too. It makes it very difficult to wish Jordan with us when to do so takes our Jasper away. Oh the absurdity of loss, the ridiculous complexity of emotion... We want them all. Here. Now. And that is just something that will never be while we are living. And that is what we are doing now, two years on. We are living again.
Perhaps next year the holidays will last beyond Jordan's birthday. I guess that is next year's challenge.
This year it felt especially hard to face another round of holidays without Peyton, and without any forward movement in our life. We have spent the last year sort of stuck on pause, trying for months to get pregnant without any success. We are praying to be blessed this year with the news of a rainbow baby, but know that even if/when we are blessed, Peyton will always be missed over the holidays. Because of this we tried to find new and beautiful ways to keep her spirit with us, especially since this year, being the second Christmas without her, we found people mentioning her less and less. Here are some of the ways we tried to honor Peyton at holiday time.
One thing we did was to take the beautiful picture of Peyton’s name from Rory’s Garden and have it framed. We wrapped it and placed it under the tree as a gift from Peyton to her grandparents, as well as Aunt and Uncle. We thought it would be a nice way to keep her present as we opened presents under the tree.
Over the month leading up to the holidays we also founded a fundraising and donation initiative (Doing Good In Her Name) to benefit the critically ill babies (and their families) being treated at the hospital where Peyton spent her life. It brought a sense of healing over a holiday time that was so hard for us, to know that these items (homemade hats, blankets, clothing, books etc.) were making hospital life a little easier for the families of these babies.
Leading up to the holiday we created a small Christmas tree at the front bay window of our house just for Peyton. On our little “Peyton Tree” we included ornaments from last year’s grave blanket, as well as ornaments given to us throughout the year in Peyton’s memory, and those we had found for her over the course of the year. My parents also travelled to her grave and provided her with a beautiful grave blanket (a blanket of greens decorated with ornaments and bows) and that brought me peace to know that Peyton’s grave would be covered and kept warm through the snowy winter months.
I have to admit that it was a real challenge to put on a brave face through the holidays, watching our nieces and newborn nephew open their presents. As happy and grateful as we were to share the day with them, and as much as we love them, we really missed Peyton deeply, and what the holidays would have been like had she been here.
When the emotions got to be too difficult, I just excused myself to another room for privacy to grieve and have a moment with my tears. This was a bit of a savior for me because being “brave” can be so exhausting. I think it is important to allow ourselves the freedom, even if it is only in private, to be free with what we are feeling.